CD Tobie: SpyderTune: Spyder4ELITE’s Secret Weapon
Nov 2012 20

The launch of Spyder4ELITE earlier this year brought a new tool to display calibration and the digital color workflow: SpyderTune. This feature is easy to overlook when running Spyder4ELITE, as it is not part of the wizard workflow. It only appears as an alternate tab in the SpyderProof window, where the results of your calibration are displayed. Choosing this alternate tab brings up the SpyderProof test image set on all connected displays, with a new set of controls on the right.

The main purpose of these controls, as described in the Spyder4ELITE Help, is to custom tune two or more displays for a visual match. This use alone makes SpyderTune a killer feature. It is a frequent situation to have displays which no amount of custom calibration will match to the degree that your eye is not distracted by minor differences in brightness, gamma, or color tint. Working on multiple displays with such variation can become tiring, as the visual system adapts and readapts each time the eye moves to a different display. Using SpyderTune to visually match the displays eliminates this variation, and the visual fatigue that can accompany it.

But while that is the documented use of SpyderTune, its not the only possible application of it. Any function where custom tuning of your display is desirable could be managed with this tool. One example would be to tune your display to match your proofing lights. While editing the proofing components of the printer profile is the first step to getting an ideal screen to print match, this capability is only available with SpyderPRINT. Tuning your display to relate to the paper you use, or the gamma your proofing light is useful when your printer profile is not build by SpyderPRINT; and can occasionally be useful in addition to SpyderPRINT proofing edits.

Another possible use is for non-color managed situations, such as matching a film-writer or other challenging output device where color management is not possible. Once SpyderTune settings that improve the match with that device have been found, they can be used when desired to provide a special “custom proof” state of your display. Specialty Black and White ink systems are another non-ICC solution, which can be emulated on screen with the assistance of SpyderTune. Dye Sublimation Transfer printing and Digital Negative printing are two more examples of unique situations where this type of solution could be useful.

A final possible use is to fit Spyder calibration into workflows that were originally based on other brands or types of display calibration products. If you work in a facility that expects a certain “color flavor” from all their systems, you can easily match that “flavor” with SpyderTune, to allow you to use your Spyder for your display calibration, instead of whatever system was previously used. This is convenient in a number of larger companies where animation, video rendering, and other specialty solutions are in use.

So keep SpyderTune in mind, you may find that it is the right solution for a challenging color problem in your workflow.


C. DAVID TOBIE has been involved in color management and digital imaging from their early development. David has worked to see affordable solutions put in place for graphic design, prepress, photography and digital imaging, and then taught users how best to utilize them. He has consulted internationally for a wide range of color-related companies, and is best known by photographers for his writing and technical editing of texts and periodicals for the photo industry such as Mastering Digital Printing, and Professional Photographer magazine, and his seminars on color and imaging at photographic workshop around the globe. David is currently Global Product Technology Manager at Datacolor, where he develops new products and features for their Spyder line of calibration tools. His work has received a long line of digital imaging product awards including the coveted TIPA award, and a nomination for the Spyder line of calibration tools. Much of David’s recent writing can be found at his photography blog:, and his samples of his photography can be seen at: